Hwati wins big at CT Art Fair
Zimbabwean-born artist Masimba Hwati took home R75 000 last week at the Cape Town International Art Fair as winner of the best booth – a small ray of transformational hope for the festival that was last week criticised for the “marginalisation of black people” by art critic Stefanie Jason. Hwati’s work, according to the artist, interrogates postcolonial “hangover cultures” and formed part of the special projects section of the fair co-curated by Azu Nwagbogu (director of the LagosPhoto Festival in Nigeria) and Ruth Simbao, a professor of art history at Rhodes University.
“I am excited by the Cape Town Art Fair’s goal to engage more meaningfully with artists and galleries in other African countries,” says Simbao. “I hope that, through the special project, we can take small steps towards engaging across the continent in more meaningful ways.”
Masks made of rugby balls, a spear made of skateboards and a leather cricket helmet topped with an animal’s tail called Neo-tribal III ( pictured), lined the booth walls. “My process is both intuitive and research-based; I am fascinated by myths and esoteric histories. On the one hand, research like this offers an in-depth understanding of a term that is commonly thrown around as a symbol of ‘far away’, and, on the other hand, makes you feel like you know something most people don’t – you feel ‘special’,” said the artist.
Smac Gallery in Cape Town, which represents Hwati, says that his winning the prize for this show will allow him to further his dream, enabling not only the emphasis and accentuation of his own, personal practice, but the creation of opportunities for others in Zimbabwe “to practise and heal through art” at a holistic institution the artist is planning. It will be based on the ideals of art therapy and education.
Other artists included in the special projects section were Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude, Mathias Chirombo, Kyle Morland, Rehema Chachage, Lady Skollie, Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze and Thania Petersen.
Hwati will be presenting a solo exhibition at Smac in September.
NEOTRIBAL Postcolonial ‘hangover cultures’ inform much of the work